Reframing a fact

In the 16:8 cycle there are times I am hungry. Specifically, the morning. I’m on a noon to 8 pm feed cycle.

The feeling of hunger is just a fact. My body is sending a signal to my brain: please send nutrients. My brain responds by generating the physical sensation I call hunger.

What happens next is critical. This feeling is interpreted by me.

There are a couple of ways I can go. One is “Oh, horrors. I am starving and I will die if I don’t eat a cheeseburger right right now!” This leads to me being a fat boy.

Momentarily I have quenched the fires of doom. But of course they rekindle themselves in a few hours and I go through the cycle again.

The other–the framing I am choosing right now–is to trigger a different judgment of the physical sensation. Acknowledge the sensation, yes. It’s there. The cause is known and the cure is known. Food will eliminate the physical sensation.

But now, I choose to look at the physical sensation as a momentary signpost that I am on the right path. It is a sign that I am exercising the character trait of determination. Of long term thinking. Of deferred gratification.

In short, you can look at anything as good or bad. It isn’t good or bad of itself. The judgment you make–and then your resulting actions from that judgment–are what matter.

There is discomfort from not doing something you want to avoid. Hunger, for instance. And there is discomfort from doing something in pursuit of a long-term aim.

Choose the discomfort that is a marker of movement toward the long-term aim.

If you’re not sure what to do, think of the situation clinically, like an accountant looks at a balance sheet. You’re facing a choice between two actions. One looks like a good thing right now–an asset. The other choice looks bad right now–a liability.

Choose the bad one. Deliberately choose the action that seemingly tips your psychic balance sheet toward bankruptcy.

Your brain is unable to understand the difference between a liability and a capital contribution. Because in fact when you choose the opposite of an asset you are in fact making an additional capital contribution to your mental balance sheet. And you can do it anytime you want.

And because of the magic of double-entry accounting, an addition one one side of the balance sheet (capital contribution) will mean generating an asset on the other.

Don’t take the metaphor too far. 😀

The point is . . . external events are neutral. We attach judgments (“this is good” “this is bad”) to them. We can choose to assign different judgments to a thing. (“Eating frozen yogurt is good because it’s a hot day and froyo is yummy.” “An extra 350 calories is 1/10 of the way to a pound of fat and you would like to lose that roll of fat around your belly.”)

Choose your judgments carefully.

Choose the judgment that involves current discomfort.